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How getting the "non-involved" involved can make a difference!

By: 
Cynthia McChesney

The 80/20 rule tells us that in many cases roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Applied to volunteers, it suggests that 20% of the people in a given community are responsible for 80% of the work.

Sound familiar?

In our churches that can mean an over-reliance on a small number of over-committed volunteers. Before long, that core group is stressed and burned out…while the rest don’t see a way in (the work is already “taken”).

The imbalance has lots of ramifications. One can be in members’ attitudes toward stewardship. Active members feel needed and important to the whole. The non-active, not so much. Active volunteers tend to know more because they’re involved in more. They see up close the ministry of their faith community. That can make it easier to see a connection between stewardship and ministry.

The 80/20 rule is also known as the “law of the vital few.” Let’s think about that. Are the 20% vital and the 80% not? How does that square with Paul’s description of the Body of Christ? “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. …Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many.” 1 Corinthians 12:12-14.

How do we involve the non-involved? Engage the non-engaged?

What if it’s the case that the rest – at least some of them – don’t see themselves (or what they can do) as ministry? In addition to seeing that all the jobs are already handled by the vital few, perhaps they don’t see their own talents and abilities as relevant or needed.

Perhaps they don’t realize their own spiritual giftedness!

How can we help the people in our churches realize their own giftedness? One way is to use a Spiritual Gits Assessment Inventory Assessment, a short quiz that tells each of us a little bit about our own spiritual gifts.

You can find an online version of a Spiritual Gifts Inventory here. A hard copy of the test is also available here that you can print out.

How can a deeper understanding of individual spiritual gifts help stewardship in your church? Three places to start:

  1. Small groups. Why not share the Spiritual Gifts Inventory exercise with small groups in your church? If your stewardship team is in place, that’s a great place to start. Consider how individuals' gifts might be put to work in the mission of stewardship.
  2. The vestry. Stewardship is a spiritual practice. At its heart is understanding our gifts come from God and it is our job as stewards to care for them. Lay leaders who “get” this, can be powerful advocates for stewardship in their congregation.
  3. The congregation as a whole. We're all blessed with spiritual gifts, but many don’t realize it. Once we do, we can see our faith community and ministry opportunities in a new light. Arm your congregation with that powerful knowledge!

Have questions about how to make this work in your church? Send me an email cmcchesney@dioceseofnewark.org or give me a call at 973-430-9909!

Cynthia McChesney
Bishop’s Staff

This article is from the March 2019 issue of the Stewardship Matters e-newsletter. Click here to read the full issue.